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Random Gems From A Culture Lust Week: Future Of Music, Hats, Albert C. Barnes

I started the week toggling back and forth between coverage of the health care bill and Molly the owl, but I did manage to do some reading and viewing in my actual beat - arts and culture. Here is some good stuff you might have missed.

What articles did I enjoy this week?

Check out this A.V. Club interview with Chloƫ Sevigny, where she straight up disses the last season of "Big Love." I mean, I agree with her, but talk about biting the hand that just helped you win a Golden Globe!

This NY Times piece by Michiko Kakutani is a good discussion of books about digital media and the way it's changed cultural production.

Chuck Klosterman's essay collection "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs"

Above: Chuck Klosterman's essay collection "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs"

L.A. and Anaheim vie for Comic-Con, while San Diego tries to hold on to the popular arts convention.

I'm not embarrassed to say I will see "Hot Tub Time Machine," which opens this weekend and stars John Cusack. I'm going to see it because it stars John Cusack. Which reminds me of one of my favorite essays by Chuck Klosterman, called "This is Emo" and is the first in his book "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs." You'll enjoy the whole collection - it's damn funny.

Rolling Stone has a nice survey of the career of Big Star singer and cult icon Alex Chilton, who died last week at age 59. They also have videos of past performances.

I just love this site featuring hats made by Southern milliner Leigh Magar. Not really an article, but what a random gem!

Favorite audio gems from the week?

This special On the Media edition (an hour!) is devoted to the state of the music industry, 10 years after Napster. The show looks at sampling, digital file sharing, music charts, the consolidation of live music companies, and ends with Amanda Palmer from The Dresdon Dolls talking about how to build new relationships with audiences.

These Days interview with Carlos Royal, the San Marcos owner of the owl barn that's home to Molly and her owlets.

In 1922 blue-collar pharmacist Dr. Albert C. Barnes used his newly acquired millions to create one of the most important art collections and presented it an art museum in South Merion, a small suburb near Philadelphia
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Above: In 1922 blue-collar pharmacist Dr. Albert C. Barnes used his newly acquired millions to create one of the most important art collections and presented it an art museum in South Merion, a small suburb near Philadelphia

Favorite viewing experience from the week?

It may be biased, but the documentary "The Art of the Steal" is still interesting, especially if you don't know much about the plucky collector Albert C. Barnes and his collection of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art (some say the finest collection of its kind in the world). What has happened to the collection is the subject of the doc, which posits that wealthy Philadelphians, the Pew Charitable Trusts, Walter Annenberg, poor leadership of the Barnes Foundation, and city politicians have all conspired to destroy the Barnes legacy by ignoring his legal will - thus "the steal." It's currently playing at Landmark's La Jolla Village Theaters and On Demand.

I've also been watching the first season of "Breaking Bad," the AMC series about a chemistry teacher in New Mexico who starts cooking and dealing meth in order to secure a financial future for his family. It started out slow, but I've grown to like it. The acting is excellent. (Season 3 has just started on AMC)

Least favorite viewing experience from the week?

The Marriage Ref. I don't understand why Jerry Seinfeld decided to return to television with this ultra-lame project. I really disliked it.

On a brighter note, 17 days and counting until David Simon's "Treme".

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